1850-1860: Francis S. Hoyt

Francis S. Hoyt

When Willamette University was chartered in 1853, Rev. Francis Hoyt became its first president. Hoyt was born on November 5, 1822, in a Methodist parsonage in Lyndon, Vermont. He attended Wesleyan University, where he received his BA and MA and was a member of the New Hampshire Conference of the Methodist Church and principal of the Wesleyan Institute. In 1850, the 28-year old minister traveled from the east coast to replace Rev. Nehemiah Doane as principal and teacher at the Oregon Institute. In addition to teaching and running the Oregon Institute (and serving as Willamette’s first president), Hoyt served as librarian of the territorial library, editor of the Pacific Christian Advocate and secretary of the Oregon Conference of the Methodist Church. Hoyt served at Willamette for 10 years, leaving at the age of 38 for a professorship at Ohio Wesleyan University. He died on January 21, 1912.